...and the Dolphins pick theirs too

...and the Dolphins pick theirs too

From Comcast SportsNet
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- With his NFL debut still more than two weeks away, Ryan Tannehill can already boast of an achievement unprecedented among Miami Dolphins quarterbacks: He won a starting job in his first training camp. New coach Joe Philbin gave Tannehill the job Monday, meaning the Dolphins will have a rookie QB start a season opener for the first time when they play at Houston on Sept. 9. Not even Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino or Bob Griese started the first game of their rookie season. Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who started the final 12 games last year. "It was a close competition," Philbin said of his biggest decision so far as a head coach. "You're trusting your instincts in terms of what's in the best interests of the team. ... We like a lot of things about Ryan. He has a chance to be a very good player." Training camp began with a three-way competition at quarterback, but veteran David Garrard fell out of contention when he underwent minor knee surgery Aug. 11. Tannehill, who played at Texas A&M, was drafted with the eighth overall pick, which made him the first quarterback taken in the opening round by the Dolphins since Marino in 1983. Marino retired following the 1999 season, and the Dolphins (No. 27 in the AP Pro32) have since had more starting quarterbacks than any other team. Tannehill will be the 17th -- easy to remember because he wears No. 17. He started the Dolphins' second exhibition game Friday at Carolina and went 11 for 23 for 100 yards. Through two preseason games he's 25 for 47 for 267 yards and one score, while Moore is 12 for 27 for 136 yards and one interception. "We took into account the entire body of work of everybody since April," Philbin said. The offense sputtered in the two games, both losses. Tannehill started just 19 games at A&M after switching from receiver to quarterback, and last year he threw 15 interceptions while going only 1-4 against Top 25 teams. But at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds he wins raves for his size, arm strength, accuracy, toughness, poise, intelligence and overall athletic ability. Even Moore has become a fan. "The guy has got the talent to be in the league," Moore said shortly before Philbin announced that Tannehill will be the starter. "He obviously understands the game very well. He's capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. There's no doubt about that. And he works his butt off. So he's got everything you want." Tannehill didn't talk to reporters following the announcement. Early in camp, Philbin targeted this week for making a decision. Tannehill worked with the first team in practice Monday and will likely get at least 80 percent of the snaps in the days to come, Philbin said. Moore exceeded expectations last year, when Miami went 6-10, but has been mostly unimpressive in training camp. "It's kind of a day-by-day thing," Moore said of his play this summer. "I think I can wow somebody tomorrow, or I can make them hate me even more." Tannehill's progress in camp was accelerated because the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator is Mike Sherman. He was Tannehill's college coach and brought the A&M playbook with him. The Dolphins drafted Tannehill after unsuccessfully courting Peyton Manning during the offseason. Now they'll see if the rookie was worth the investment. "We didn't hand him anything," Philbin said. "Nothing is forever in this league if a guy doesn't play well, at any position."

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Max Scherzer digs down deep to help Nats, shut up Orioles fans

Max Scherzer digs down deep to help Nats, shut up Orioles fans

Despite his team holding a comfortable division lead in the final week of August, there was plenty on the line to motivate Max Scherzer on Thursday night at Nationals Park.

He was tasked with stopping his team's four-game losing streak against a team in the Baltimore Orioles that was aiming for a four-game sweep. Going back to last season, the O's had won six consecutive games over the Nats. They had their number. They smelled blood. And because of the proximity of the team's stadiums, they had some of their friends lacing the audience dressed in orange.

The Nationals' bullpen also needed a favor. Rookie starter Reynaldo Lopez went just 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday and Tanner Roark was bounced after five the following night. Last week Nats relievers were plagued by even shorter outings from the rotation, rain delays and injuries.

Simply put, the Nationals needed Scherzer to be the ace they paid him $210 million to be. They needed 'Mad Max.'

So, Scherzer stepped out of the dugout and into the view of a sellout crowd on Thursday night with that crazed looked in his eye, that 20-strikeout, 'you'll be lucky to get any hits at all' kind of look. He was ready to be the aggressor against an Orioles lineup that is as aggressive and powerful as they come.

"They have a lot of guys that have a lot of thump in their lineup and the past three nights, I had really been watching them," Scherzer said. "I was going through my experience and really coming up with a gameplan of how I needed to pitch against them."

Scherzer used that preparation to charge out to a fantastic start with six strikeouts in his first eight at-bats. He carved up the Orioles to the tune of eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts, no walks and just two hits allowed. That set the stage for just the fifth time the O's have been shut out this season.

"That’s what aces do," manager Dusty Baker said. "He shut down a very high–powered offense. There were only a couple balls hit hard off him. Had quite a few strikeouts. Boy, that was a masterful, masterful job by Max."

It was the 11th time Scherzer has posted double-digit strikeouts in a game this season, more than any other MLB pitcher. That tied the Nats club record he set himself just last year.

His 10th strikeout was against Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in the eighth inning. He then got J.J. Hardy to fly out to end the frame and his night after 95 pitches.

Scherzer had every reason to keep pushing late in his start, but there was something in the park on Thursday that gave him some extra motivation.

"I gave everything I got there in the eighth, the O's fans started making noise there in the eighth and that really kind of ticked me off. When they're sitting out there cheering at our park, I didn't like that," he said.

That, of course, was a minor consideration for Scherzer. More important to him was saving the aforementioned bullpen, which has been taxed more than any part of their roster during this current stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

"I knew I needed to pitch deep into the game tonight. Our bullpen has been taxed, and I really needed to try and get deep into the game to try and help those guys out. That was huge to get into the eighth and complete the eighth and just turn the ball over to Mark [Melancon], so that was a first and foremost thing that I knew I needed to do tonight," he said.

[RELATED: Nats' Ross making quick progress, may start rehab assignment soon]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES

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Jimenez was good, but Scherzer was too much for Orioles in series finale

Jimenez was good, but Scherzer was too much for Orioles in series finale

WASHINGTON---Thrust in the starting rotation because Chris Tillman is on the disabled list, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a creditable game on Thursday night. 

Jimenez’s issue was that Max Scherzer was nearly perfect. 

The Orioles had just two hits in eight innings against Scherzer as the Washington Nationals beat the Orioles 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 39,722 at Nationals Park. 

After winning the first three games against the Nationals (74-53), the Orioles (70-57) were shut down completely by the great Scherzer, who struck out 10 in his eight innings without walking a batter. He threw 95 pitches. 

Jimenez allowed one run on five hits, striking out four without walking a batter in six innings. 

“I think everybody was pulling for him. He’s such a good young man, just needed it. I almost took him out after the fifth, but he said he felt good and wanted to go there. but we needed those six innings. We’re still having trouble pitching that last inning. It’s been a challenge for us, but Ubaldo kept us in the game. There’s a game there to be won if we could keep that thing at 1-0,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Logan Ondrusek allowed three runs in the eighth. 

Scherzer (14-7) quickly retired the first nine Orioles, striking out six of them before Adam Jones doubled to left, leading off the fourth. That was the Orioles’ only baserunner. 

After setting down the next 12, Mark Trumbo singled to lead off the eighth. 

Jayson Werth led off the fourth with a long home run to center field off JImenez and the Nationals had a 1-0 lead.  

Jimenez won the plaudits of his manager and teammates. 

“I want to talk about how Ubaldo threw the ball. He went out there and I’m pretty sure many people didn’t expect him to do what he did. Six innings. One pitch I know he wants to have back, but he threw the hell out of the ball,” Jones said. 

Jones was pinch hit for in the ninth inning, and Showalter said he was taken out as a precaution.

“He had a cramp in the hamstring in one leg. Felt it earlier in the game, and I just didn’t like the description. I talked to him when he came off the field in the bottom of the 8th. It’s just not worth taking a chance, because we really don't have much depth at that position either,” Showalter said. 

Jones dismissed questions about his injury as he generally does when he’s hurt. “I’m good, so it doesn’t matter,” Jones said. He did say he planned on playing Friday. 

Jimenez’s turn will come up against Toronto on Tuesday. This year, Jimenez has allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in 7 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays.

“I haven’t even gotten that far on. I don’t know what else he has to do,” Showalter said. “We’ll step back and take a look at it and continue to try to put our best foot forward. He certainly did tonight.”

Jimenez was pleased with how well he pitched in his first start since July 28 against the Twins.

“That’s everything I’ve done in my career, start. I know why I was put in the bullpen, but it’s very good to have this one and the one in Minnesota too. Hopefully, I get some more, but wherever they put me, I’m going to try to do the best I can to be there for the team,” Jimenez said. 

He enjoyed the matchup with one of the game’s best. 

“As a starting pitcher, that’s one of the games that you dream of, because it gets you going. You have to bring your A-game, because that guy’s tough to hit,” Jimenez said. 

The Orioles were aggressive against Scherzer, but it didn’t work

“I guess so, but that didn’t rattle him. He kept back. He had a plan. He executed it. He was using all his pitches tonight. He was very difficult to face, and he did a good job,” Steve Pearce said. 

The game got away in the eighth when Ondrusek pitched his second inning. Mike Wright came on after the first three batters of the inning got on. 

Trea Turner, who was 10-for-13 in the last three games of the series, singled to begin the inning. Werth singled, and Daniel Murphy doubled down the right field line to score Turner. Bryce Harper’s double scored two more for a 4-0 lead. 

Showalter said that the team might have to make one or two moves because neither Ondrusek nor Wright would be available on Friday.

One of the possible additions, T.J. McFarland pitched a perfect inning for Bowie. 

NOTE: The Orioles open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 5.08) faces Luis Cessa (3-0, 4.01).  

RELATED: ORIOLES MAKING POSTSEASON PLANS

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Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

When the Redskins take on the Bills Friday night (7:30 @ CSN) this will be the closest to a regular season game Washington gets before September 12th. It's time for the 'Skins to show up. With starters slated to play a full half, the team will get the opportunity.

  1. Time for Cousins - Kirk Cousins got an unexpected night off last week when Jay Gruden decided to give backup Colt McCoy the start against the Jets. That should not be the case Friday as Gruden has said he expects the starters to go for the first half against the Bills. Cousins, for his part, is ready to take the field. "We want to be sharp, we want to stay healthy. We just want to move the football, convert third downs, stay out on the field and score points, and that really never changes. Whether it’s the preseason, whether it’s a practice session of moving the football, or whether it’s a real game," the QB said on Monday.
  2. Trent & Reed back out there - Arguably the Redskins two best players are set to make their preseason debut Friday night. Trent Williams and Jordan Reed should line up with Cousins and the Redskins offense, and coaches will be watching both. Injury concerns for either player aren't much of a consideration, but it will be interesting to watch as both guys look to get their wind and conditioning.
  3. Improved secondary gets test - The Redskins secondary should absolutely be improved this fall, as playmaker Bashaud Breeland has another year under his belt and 2015 All-Pro Josh Norman joins the squad. That doesn't mean Friday night against the Bills won't present a challenge though. Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor is known to elongate plays with his legs, so the corners will need to stay on their assignments longer than normal. Breeland said earlier in the week that he knows the challenge Taylor presents, and while the 'Skins defense did not gameplan for the Bills like they would against a regular season opponent, the secondary needs to be prepared for Taylor and WR Sammy Watkins.
  4. Will the Stork arrive? -  Scot McCloughan traded for the former Patriots center on Wednesday, and after much consternation, it appears Bryan Stork will report to the Redskins. When he will report remains a question. Stork would not play Friday night, but it will be interesting to see if he arrives on the sideline or waits until the weekend to meet his new team. Stork might help at center, but at least will bring a new level of competition for starter Kory Lichtensteiger. 
  5. Let's get physical - Rex Ryan coaches the Bills. Rex Ryan likes his teams to play very physical, and the Redskins better be ready for that physicality Friday night. Don't forget that beating Buffalo last year put the 'Skins on track for a playoff berth, but also took the Bills of course of an AFC playoff bid. Yes it's preseason, but this game should have some juice early. 

Stay tuned for updates throughout Friday as @JPFinlayCSN will be on scene at FedEx Field early.